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For the love of making: artist Antony Gormley

For the love of making explores the breadth of creativity being practiced across NUA’s courses in a bit more detail, aiming to shine a spotlight on particular methods and interests. Here Year 2 BA (Hons) Fine Art student Yuyu Tse takes us through her love for Antony Gormley’s work and his recent NUA lecture. 

I first came across Antony Gormley’s work in winter 2019, when he was exhibiting in the Royal Academy of Arts. I was attracted by the sculpture that he made, by placing human bodies all around the museum walls and ceilings, breaking the stereotype exhibition set up. He introduced a new relationship between the gallery space and the object, and more specifically using his own body as a found object.

He was heavily influenced and inspired by one of his childhood memories of resting after lunch in an enclosed and “claustrophobic” environment, leading to his practice of casting his own body. However unfortunately, because the tickets were sold out, I was unable to view his works that were displayed inside the Royal Academy, but I did get to enjoy Iron Baby (1999) that was placed outside!

My own practice looks at the idea of identity, sense of home and psychological relationships. Gormley’s approaches and idea of oneself are an interesting contrast in how we view similar topics. Allowing the audience to interact with his sculpture, he allows them to better understand the language spoken between the biological space and the architectural space that the body is presented in.

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When I first scrolled through the list of upcoming BA (Hons) Fine Art artist guest lectures, I was very excited to see Antony Gormley’s name on the list. It almost felt like a dream come true that I would be able to meet him, even though it was via Microsoft Teams it felt like a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

During Gormley’s lecture he discussed many of his early works, including works that he made when he was still in art school. These are works that I have never seen before, and I found them very encouraging and motivating examples of how an artist grows and develops their practice through time.

Seeing Gormley’s artworks and hearing him talk through the process and experience of making, it took away the pressure of trying to find that niche within my own practice. Going forward I will allow myself to explore using a wide range of materials and widen my research to create a more in-depth relationship with my artwork. I will allow myself to create works that shares a deeper and more cultural meaning with the audience, thus fulfilling what I consider the responsibility of today’s contemporary artists.

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